Warren County's Oldest Home On The Move

Aug 5, 2019

History is on the move in Warren County where a two-story log home in the county's first settlement is being  dismantled and reassembled four miles away in Lebanon. 

It was the fall of 1795 when William Bedle bought 640 acres from a land speculator and moved his grown children and their spouses to what is now land behind the Lebanon Correctional Institution.

"They built the blockhouse first, which was the fortification against the Indians, out of round logs so that was quick; cut them, stacked them," says Warren County Historical Society Executive Director Vicky Van Harlingen. "Then they built a church and two houses."

After a failed effort 30 years ago to move the one remaining house because of a lack of funds, the effort has been restarted and logs will be transported and reconstructed next to the old post office and diagonal from the train station at Broadway and South streets.

Siding still covers much of the home. Any additions will be torn down and just the original part will be moved to Lebanon.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

The project is two-fold. Volunteers, including the Dayton Diggers, must take off the siding to expose the  the giant logs which on the face are up to 24" and weigh thousands of pounds. Each one will be marked so they can be reassembled properly. An excavating company will tear down an adjoining shed, which was added onto the house.

Time is not on the historians' side. A water leak has rotted the roof and part of the floor. Van Harlingen hopes the project will be finished this fall. By November, she hopes visitors can see the home in Lebanon.

Looking closely you can see the axe marks to cut down giant logs used to build the two-story log home.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Diggers' Charlie Overbee points out the hard work six men did by examining the logs closely. "If you look at each of these little marks here, that meant someone swung an axe for every single one of these and you can see thousands of these."

It was unusual to build a two-story home in 1795, according to Van Harlingen, who adds hoisting the giant logs was no easy task.

The Diggers will look for artifacts once the home is moved. "Things that are real cool - when you start finding like old pieces of pottery, old broken plates, old square nails, forged nails," says Overbee.

Funding for the move was donated.

The log home will be reassembled on this lot at Broadway and South streets in Lebanon. It's next to the old post office and diagonal from the train station.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU